Panasonic Unveils Compact 4K Super 35 VariCam Camera
Weighing just under six pounds, the 4K camera inherits the same super 35mm sensor and imaging capabilities as the VariCam 35; Also features capture rates up to 240fps in imager crop mode
Panasonic has unveiled the VariCam LT, which marks the next generation of 4K cinema cameras and inherits the same super 35mm sensor and imaging capabilities as the VariCam 35, but with significant reductions in size, weight and price. For sports-content producers and filmmakers, the VariCam LT offers the ability to shoot fast action, such as extreme sports, in 4K at 60 fps or 2K footage at 240 fps.
Incorporating this identical imaging DNA in a more compact rendition, the VariCam LT (model AU-V35LT1G) delivers 14+ stops of dynamic range with V-Log, and the same cinematic VariCam image quality and color science, as well as the VariCam 35’s dual native ISOs of 800/5000.
“The newly announced VaiCam LT offers several advantages for sports production,” says Paul D. McAniff, Product Manager – VariCam, Pro Video & Cinema Production, Panasonic System Communications Company of North America. “The capability of shooting 4K at 60 fps is ideal for sports production and sports related filmmaking. Support for 2K up to 240 fps is ideal for any fast action footage. In particular extreme sports production would benefit greatly from such high frame rates acquired in a robust file format.”
Weighing just under six pounds with superior capability for its size, the VariCam LT will be the ideal camera for handheld, SteadiCam, jib, crane, drone, gimbal and overall cinema verité work. The VariCam LT is likewise tailor-made for owner/operators, independent filmmakers, documentary makers, and corporate production creators.
“The smaller lighter weight and more highly mobile design facilitates several different applications for image acquisition,” says McAniff. “The VariCam LT fits in spaces that the larger VariCams do not. It’s much easier, for example, to outfit an LT on a drone or a Steadicam rig – especially when using the smaller and more economical lenses that fit the standard EF mount. These capabilities make the LT an excellent supplement for current VariCam 35 and HS users.”
The VariCam LT will be available at the end of March in two packages, suggested list price $18,000 (body only) and suggested list price $24,000 (body + AU-VCVF10G viewfinder).
The VariCam LT delivers superb image handling in multiple formats ranging from 4K, UHD, 2K and HD, and like the VariCam 35, is fully capable of High Dynamic Range (HDR) field capture. The new 4K camcorder offers Apple ProRes 4444 (up to 30p) and ProRes 422 HQ (up to 60p) support for HD recording, as well as Panasonic’s AVC-ULTRA family of advanced video codecs.
New codecs introduced in the VariCam LT include AVC-Intra LT and AVC-Intra 2K-LT, both designed to offer capture rates up to 240fps in imager crop mode, ideal for sports and other fast motion footage.
Powerful color management capabilities combined with VariCam’s extended color gamut and support for the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) workflow allow for full fidelity mastering of original source material. The VariCam LT offers in-camera color grading, with the ability to record an ungraded 4K master along with all on-set grading metadata. A new color processing feature is “V-LOOK,” which acts as a blend of V-Log and video, and allows filmic documentary acquisition without the same need for intense color grading.
The VariCam LT differs from the VariCam 35 in being a one-piece, short-bodied camcorder vs. a two-piece camera head plus recorder. While the VariCam LT does not feature parallel sub-recording, it does have an SD slot for high-resolution proxy recording. Proxy files can be wirelessly uploaded via FTP, which facilitates wireless color grading. Variable frame rates are available with LongG6 recording.
There is one expressP2 card for all formats including high frame rate and HD/2K/UHD and 4K recording (the 256Gbyte expressP2 card can record up to 90 minutes of 4K/4:2:2/23.98p content). RAW output from SDI is planned to be supported by a firmware upgrade in early summer 2016.
The VariCam LT features an EF mount (vs. the VariCam 35’s PL mount), suitable for the wide array of lenses available for smaller cameras. The EF mount can be switched out to a robust standard PL mount, expanding the range of compatible lenses that can be used. The control panel can be separated from the camera body to facilitate real-time control and easy menu access. The camcorder has a production-tough magnesium body to assure durability and reliability in challenging shooting locations.
Other features new to the VariCam LT are power hot swap, IR shooting (further enhancing the camcorder’s extreme low-light capture at ISO 5000), 23.98 PsF output, and image presets as scene files.
Among the camcorder’s top-level production assets are ND filters (CLEAR, 0.6, 1.2, 1.8), an optional OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) with optical zoom functionality, 24-bit LPCM audio for in-camera audio master recording, Focus Assist, anamorphic lens de-squeeze, special REC functions (PreRec, interval, one-shot), IP control via Panasonic’s AK-HRP200 camera remote controller, and built-in GPS.
Professional interfaces include: 3G-HD-SDI x 3 (SDI-OUT X 2 and VF), LAN, genlock in, timecode in/out, USB2.0 Host and USB2.0 Device (mini B), and three XLR inputs (one 5-pin, two 3-pin) to record four channels of 24-bit, 48KHz audio. In addition, its flexible interfaces allow use of the Panasonic AU-VCVF10G viewfinder, as well as 3rd party viewfinder solutions.